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The Globe's Glaciers: Do We Know What They're Doing?
Dyurgerov, M.  2003.  Mountain and subpolar glaciers show an increase in sensitivity to climate warming and intensification of the water cycle.  Journal of Hydrology 282: 164-176.

What was done
In the words of the author, "the time-series of all available records of seasonal and annual glacier mass balance, equilibrium line altitude, accumulation area ratio and change in surface area of about 300 glaciers have been compiled, digitized, quality checked and analyzed over the period of almost four decades (1961-1998)."

What was learned
In the words of the author, "these time-series show significant changes towards loss in glacier area and volume in global scale with accelerated rate, especially since the end of [the] 1980s."  He additionally notes that "the sensitivity of glacier mass balance in regard to temperature and precipitation has also increased which resulted in an increase of glacier contribution to sea level rise from 0.15 mm/yr in 1961-1976 (10% of total sea-level rise) to 0.41 mm/yr in 1988-1998 (27% of total sea-level rise)."

What it means
In spite of what was "learned," Dyurgerov states, in the final sentence of his paper, that "the experimental data on glacier regime components may never [our italics] reach the number required to make an accurate calculation of volume change at hemispheric, or global scales."  And since never is an extremely long time from now, it seems a little ridiculous for anyone to put much faith in Dyurgerov's current conclusions about global glacier behavior and its impact on sea level.

Reviewed 17 March 2004